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Oct. 15 Democratic debate: Editorial Board and Point readers pick winner

The 2020 Democratic presidential primary season may have been overshadowed by the House impeachment inquiry and events in the Middle East but it returns to the fore Tuesday night with a fourth debate.

Members of Newsday’s editorial board will evaluate the positions of the 12 candidates on the stage. This debate focuses on foreign policy, and how well they would conduct themselves as president on the national stage.

Our ratings will be done on a scale of one to five stars. Five, of course, being the best. The ratings are not an endorsement of any candidate, his or her views or policy positions. Instead, the ratings are a measure of how well the candidates contribute to the national discussion.

Readers of The Point, our newsletter, have the exclusive opportunity to rate the candidates along with editorial board members. Join The Point here.

The Editorial Board selected Pete Buttigieg as the debate winner tonight and Elizabeth Warren came in second. Point readers picked Pete Buttigieg as well and Cory Booker came in second. Here are key takeaways from Tuesday’s debate from members of Newsday’s Editorial Board:

Mark Chiusano: Tuesday’s debate may have been the best showing for the moderates, with Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg getting more primetime attention while they jabbed the leading progressives, particularly Elizabeth Warren — though all the jabbing may have indicated how much Warren has been surging.

Rita Ciolli: The second tier candidates in the polls, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, stood out. Elizabeth Warren never rose to her new front-runner status and Joe Biden seemed sharper. But finally, the question is being called on how do you execute some of these outsized proposals, such as taking away assault weapons or paying for Medicare for all.

Matt Davies: As Pete Buttigieg reminds us, when the impeachment and election process has played out, America is going to be more divided than ever. As good at communicating as each of these politicians have become out on the campaign trail, trying to figure out which of them can compete against the forces of Trumpism is increasingly daunting.

Michael Dobie: If anyone outside the top three had a breakout performance it was Pete Buttigieg, who has command of a lot of subjects; Elizabeth Warren emerged from the tag-team pummeling staggering, but upright; Joe Biden showed that flubs for him are a feature not a bug, and the people on the flanks proved why they’re on the flanks.

Lane Filler: With total support for the moderate camp and the progressive camp in the race split nearly evenly, it’s becoming apparent that whichever wing stops its own infighting first and unites behind a standard bearer will seize the nomination.

Randi F. Marshall: Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar found their voices tonight and distinguished themselves from the three candidates at the center of the stage, but they’re going to have to find ways to capitalize on that success, because the other three didn’t really falter. Elizabeth Warren seemed to remain at the top, even as she endured attacks from all sides.

Eli Reyes: Plenty of ideological differences among Democrats in this debate, and all the talk about unity will likely do little to close those gaps.

Lawrence Striegel: Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar found stronger voices in challenging Elizabeth Warren. Warren needs to do better against such heat to succeed.

Final result

Presidential candidates